Together with around 1,000-plus other like-minded industry professionals, we attended the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022 conference in Orlando, Florida, US. The biggest global supply chain event, with three days full of inspiration and networking with the world’s leading supply chain leaders.
Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022
Being a proud sponsor, we gained a lot of valuable analyst insights to apply to our customers’ businesses. We even gathered more interesting content from moderating our own interactive roundtable! Gathering about 20 experts from companies like Thermo Fisher, General Mills, Intel, SC Johnson, BD, Ford, Sonoco, Amgen and many more.
With one central topic: how can we increase digital integration and collaboration across our extended value chain networks?
Each of the participating companies face their own challenges, from how to improve master data accuracy and network visibility to managing central vs. local planning to optimizing overall collaboration with tier N suppliers. During a 45-minute intensive roundtable discussion, challenges were brought to the table, and the discussion guided us into some key insights on how companies can better manage digital collaboration over the entire value chain.
And as we believe that sharing is caring, we are happy to share our key takeaways with you.
1. It all starts with a value case
You cannot start without a proper value case. Well, you can, but you will not get too far. A sound business case, with clear dollar values on the one hand (improved inventory, reduced lost sales, better end-to-end service, etc.) and strategic objectives on the other (better visibility, increased agility, etc.), are imperative. As well as good storytelling toward your internal and external stakeholders because you will need them along the way. Covid-19 can be a great accelerator to convince senior leadership even more, as well as thinking about the “what if we do not do this” scenario!
2. Balance speed versus scope
It is important to find the right balance between “go alone and be fast” and “go together and go far.” Including different supply chain functions early in the process of shaping the transformation program clearly improves the value case. For example, sharing quality specs or procurement information with partners on top of planning data immediately creates one single process for your suppliers and customers. But taking in scope all different enterprise functions from the start has the risk of blowing up the entire program and delaying timelines due to immense upfront stakeholder alignment. The golden rule here is to start with a set of defined process areas that you can extend afterward in a flexible way to other functions on the same platform.
3. Not everyone can be treated the same way
Moving to an integrated value chain means extending your traditional supply chain toward suppliers, partners, and customers. This also means you need to find the right balance between, on the one hand, segment, but on the other hand, stick to a common vision & value chain plan. You cannot treat every partner the same way because the value case is different for each. However, a common goal is what makes the transformation stick, so find that sweet spot of the perfect balance.
4. Multiple connected systems as 1 solution
There is no such thing as 1 silver bullet system that will cover all use cases and solve all challenges. It is a fact that it will require multiple systems to talk to each other (in the cloud) and share data in the long term. Also, your customers and suppliers will not be on the same system or solution. You cannot convince them all to go for the same tool or setup, so combining multiple connected systems that operate as a single integrated solution is the answer.
5. Manage your change & your people
Moving away from excel is easier said than done. Your people are the heart of your business. So, for any change to be effective, you need your people on board. It will require a lift and shift to put a system in place and get all the people in that same direction, but it is particularly important to do so.
Thanks to our Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022 roundtable attendees, we were able to come to these five valuable insights to think about and apply to your own business.
Of course, we are happy to continue the discussion. Just get in touch!
Natalie is the head of brand marketing at Bluecrux.